Chapter 5 - How to Train Your Troll
Arian waited in a nearby set of bushes. He had found Valtheim Towers, where the bounty report had said the bandit chief would be. Crouched over in a set of firms, Arian didn't realize he wasn't actually well hidden. The hilt of his great sword stuck up high from the bushes, and the top of his head peeked up over the tip of the branches.
He wasn't too worried about that however. Arian was too busy keeping his eye on the bandits in the stone towers. Valtheim Towers were two towers that sat on opposing edges of a river, with a stone bridge connecting them. The bridge sat about middle of the way up the tower near him, still another good twenty to thirty feet high above that. They must have been built as a set of guard towers, but these bandits had control of them at the moment. Arian counted five bandits in total, one in front of the entrance to the tower on his side of the river, one up high in that tower with a bow in arrow, one across the river in a similar position, and two on the bridge.
The bounty report Arian had been given gave no indication of who the bandit chief was in the group, but Arian figured it was one of bandits on the bridge, a large orc woman. She wore heavy steel plate armor and had large wooden shield studded with steel. At her side was a large golden mace, dwarven make from what Arian could tell. She would be a tough opponent to take out.
There was solace that Arian did not get terribly lost trying to find the towers. Between the map Saadia had given him and Ysolda's directions, Arian had managed to get to the towers in just a couple hours of travelling.
Thoughts of Ysolda sent Arian's head back to the night prior. Arian had lost track of how long the two spent embracing each other in her bed, he only knew it felt like forever. He was happy to discover that action was also muscle memory to him, because no amateur could make a woman moan the way Ysolda did. Arian couldn't help but have a little smirk on his face as he hid in the bushes while remembering the night before and that morning.
The sun had just been creeping over the horizon and a little light started to illuminate Ysolda's home. Arian woke up after the best rest of his life, his left arm cradling Ysolda as he spooned her. They were both still naked, and Arian took the chance to admire her form in that moment. He grinned, but realized if he wanted to claim that bounty he'd need to get up and find where Valtheim Towers was located.
Moving slowly and carefully as to not wake her, Arian stood up from the bed and moved to where his clothes had been tossed to on the floor. He gingerly started putting them on, but a yawning Ysolda made him turn around. She was one her back with her hands up by her head as she stretched. As her eyes opened, she beamed at him, and Arian couldn't resist a little smile himself.
"Hey you, go back to sleep," Arian said, but Ysolda shook her head.
"Can't, I have to keep working at my trade," she responded, and then her expression turned to one of sheer satisfaction. "You were incredible."
"Thanks," Arian responded with a blush. "You were pretty amazing yourself."
She looked apprehensive for a moment then, and she said, "I don't want you thinking I jump into bed with guys I just meet. That's never happened to me before." Arian strapped on his wrist guards and looked at her curiously.
"It's just…well you saved my parents farm, you're better looking than over half of the men in Skyrim, and then to top it off last night you looked like a sad puppy after what happened with the Redguards. You were pretty much irresistible, and I was lucky I already knew you were a good guy," Ysolda elaborated. Arian nodded in understanding, and then he moved to sit by the foot of her bed.
"I don't usually do things like this either…that I know of…and I don't want you thinking I was taking advantage of you. But for starters, you beautiful," Arian said, making Ysolda blush and look away. "And you listened when I needed someone to. So thank you." Arian also knew part of the reason was that Saadia had promised him that, but ulterior motives had soured that option for Arian. So when it was offered like that by Ysolda, Arian didn't have too much to think about.
Ysolda moved to sit up, the blanket drooping down covering her bottom but leaving her top exposed. She smiled at him and put a hand on his leg.
"I could go for one more round, if you're interested," Ysolda commented, and Arian laughed and looked down.
"Oh I would love to," Arian answered. "But I shouldn't. I have a bounty I want to go collect, and with my sense of direction I should get going."
"Do you have a map?" Ysolda asked, cocking her head to the side.
"Yeah, for all the good it does me," Arian responded.
"Here, show it to me," Ysolda offered. Arian stood up and grabbed the map from his pack and passed it to her. He also showed her the bounty, and Ysolda took a few moments to look at the map and marked it where Arian could find Valtheim Towers. After a quick explanation of how to find it, Arian nodded and stood up.
"Thanks, I owe you now," Arian remarked. Ysolda shrugged her shoulders and stood up, letting the blanket completely fall off.
"Well, then come back once you're done. Maybe we can do that again," Ysolda offered. Arian took one look at the red head in front of him, and he shrugged his shoulders.
"I wouldn't argue with that," Arian responded, but then his cheeks turned red. "Or since you saved me some time, maybe we can do it now as well."
Ysolda grinned and pulled him in for a kiss. The two embraced, and Arian realized what a waste of time it had been to put on his clothes. Regardless, it was worth it.
Arian then realized as he snapped back to the present he had been sitting in the bush remembering that fondly for a few minutes, and the bandit by the entrance seemed to have notice him. A Redguard woman, she was reaching for her axe as she walked over to Arian, and Arian grabbed the hilt of his sword. He may have lost the element of surprise, but he sure wasn't about to lose the fight.
"Hey, I think we have an intruder!" the bandit called, and with that Arian leaped forward from the bushes at bandit. There were a few feet between them and it gave her time to swing her axe out at Arian. Arian ducked low and then swung upwards with great sword quickly. A trail of blood followed the slash and the bandit fell backwards with a shriek.
Arian took a moment to look up and noticed that the other bandits were mobilizing against him. He'd have to move fast if he wanted to reduce their numbers. He burst into the tower's entrance and looked around. The interior was built with wooden scaffolding and had stairs leading up through it. Arian dashed up the stairs, not paying any mind to the chests and shelves that marked the walls.
At one point Arian saw a way out to the bridge, but a plan was fast formulating in his head. Arian continued to run up the tower, hearing the bandits yell out in confusion. None of them seemed to know where he was, and that was exactly what he needed for his plan to work. The top of the tower was still twenty feet away, so Arian ran as fast as his legs could take him. Arian finally reached the top of the tower, and saw the archer, a young Breton male up there. He was scanning the bridge trying to get eyes on Arian, but as Arian neared the bandit turned to see he was approaching.
Faster than Arian would have expected, the bandit nocked and fired an arrow. Arian leaned to the side as he ran at the archer, dodging the arrow. Just before Arian reached the bandit the bandit swung out wildly with the bow. Arian swung upwards with his sword and snapped the bow in half, stunning the archer and making his arms go out wide. Then pivoting on his foot Arian spun around and kicked the bandit in the chest.
He hit the bandit with enough force that the bandit went stumbling backwards and fell off the edge of the tower towards the bridge. In a daring and possibly stupid move Arian followed the bandit and jumped off the edge. The two bandits on the bridge looked up in shock as Arian descended with the bandit, the two fast dropping. With a hard thud and crack the bandit hit the bridge and died almost instantly. Arian then landed on top of the bandit and used his body to brace his fall. Upon landing Arian immediately rolled forward and then stood up. Between the bandit's body and the roll, Arian had managed to absorb enough of the force of the drop. His knees were still quite shaky from it regardless.
A bandit, a Khajit warrior, stood between Arian and the bandit chief, and he ran at Arian with abandon. Arian's whole body was feeling the impact of the fall and the Khajit charging at him seemed intent on taking advantage of that. The Khajit swung at Arian with a dagger in his left hand, and as Arian dodged it Arian found himself stumbling backwards to avoid the sword in the Khajit's right hand. Arian knew the bandit was going to continue to pushing his advantage and he had to turn the fight back to his terms.
The Khajit swung at Arian with the dagger again and as he did Arian quickly swung his sword. Using the superior reach of his sword Arian managed to get his blade underneath the dagger's reach and cut off the Khajit's hand. With a scream the Khajit dropped his sword and fell to his knees, grasping at his severed limb. Arian didn't have time to deal with the now handicapped bandit and he quickly beat the Khajit across the side of the head with his sword, knocking the Khajit off the bridge into the river below.
"You are a fine warrior," the bandit chief commented, her voice extremely low for a woman's. "I shall enjoy making you pay for what you did to my people."
"Well," Arian said, his voice even shaky from the fall. "I'm going to making you pay for my livelihood once I collect the bounty." Arian charged at the bandit chief then and swung downwards at her. She raised her shield and deflected Arian's blow easily enough, and with a push she knocked Arian back. Arian struggled to keep his footing, but then found himself blocking an attack from the bandit chief's mace. He used the broadside of his sword to do so, but then to his surprise he got hit in the head by the bandit chief's shield.
The bash made Arian fall onto his back in shock. There was no time to lie around as the bandit chief swung down with her mace, not leaving Arian a lot of room to maneuver on the narrow bridge. Arian curved his body to the side and let the mace hit the ground, but then he found himself scrambling to bring his sword up. She pushed down hard with her shield and Arian held her at bay with his sword, but the bandit chief was strong and had the advantageous position on him.
Arian saw her lifting her mace into the air, and if Arian moved himself at all to dodge or block the attack he would be susceptible to the shield. His feet were still free he realized. Arian quickly wrapped his feet around legs and twisted. The bandit chief yelped as she lost her balance and fell to the side. Relived from the power of her shield Arian sat up as the bandit chief struggled to not fall off the side of the bridge, her top half already careening over the edge.
She had dropped her shield and mace, and was flailing her arms wildly to try and maintain balance. Arian stood up and cracked his neck then considered his next course of action. He could let the bandit chief fall and die, but he also had the option of bringing her in alive. After what had happened with the Redguards, Arian appreciated the option and decided he had enough of an edge he could take her hostage.
Just as Arian reached to help her up however, he received an arrow in the leg. Blinding shearing pain shot through Arian's body, and for a moment all he could see were white lights. Arian stumbled and began to fall forward. Looking to his side, Arian realized he had forgotten about the fifth bandit, another archer. Unable to control his balance Arian fell forward off the bridge as the bandit chief tumbled downward as well.
The two hit the river with a splash, the water just deep enough so Arian didn't hit the hard rocks on the bottom. The surge of water disoriented Arian and he couldn't see, hear or breathe properly. Arian managed to get his head above water where he gasped for air, and he realized he was still moving. Looking around, Arian saw he was floating down stream, but was grateful that he was still alive. His sword was nowhere to be seen however, much to his dismay.
Despite the pain in his leg, a red stream flowing from it in the water, Arian figured he could swim to shore. He'd have to rely on his arms to get him there, so Arian started the best doggie paddle he could muster. Suddenly then the bandit chief burst out of the water beside him and tackled him. Arian couldn't do much in response as the bandit chief forced his head underwater.
Arian tried to push back and escape, his limbs flailing wildly underwater, but as water filled his lungs and blood fled from his body Arian felt all his strength leaving him. Then Arian realized he was moving faster and faster downstream, and the bandit chief stopped applying pressure to him. He realized they must have been heading towards a waterfall, but there was no way he'd be able to get away in his condition.
Reaching out, Arian grabbed the bandit chief by the foot as she tried to swim away. There was a chance she would drag him out with her, but before that could happen they picked up even more speed. The last thing Arian remembered before going over the edge of the waterfall was the image of Ysolda sitting half-naked on the bed.
He wasn't entirely sure when he reawakened, all Arian knew was he came to on the edge of a small island. Now he could add drowning to the list of things he miraculously survived, Arian realized with a small smile. Coughing, Arian spat out the water in his throat as he out his hands to the ground and tried to stand. The second his knees started to support him he crumpled back into the dirt, the arrow still in his leg.
Right, Arian thought to himself, that was a thing that happened. Grimacing in pain Arian managed to spin around onto his back. Arian propped himself up using his arms, and Arian took a better look around the island. His pack and sword had washed up beside him luckily, which was a godsend if there ever was one. With a look to the east Arian saw the waterfall, and then the river split into two pathways around the island. The mainland was across from Arian, but the river spanning between them was only about fifteen feet wide. That would be easily traversable, if it wasn't for Arian's leg.
Then looking to his left, Arian saw the mangled corpse of the bandit chief he had been fighting, having washed up on shore further down then him. She almost seemed like she had been folded in half, the nice steel armor she was wearing cracked and crumpling all up and down her back. Her spine must have snapped in the fall from the way she fell, Arian realized. Once he figured a way back to Whiterun, he'd have to find a way to deliver her body for the bounty.
Thinking about the bounty, Arian's memory flashed back again to earlier that morning. When leaving Whiterun in the early morning hours before anyone else was wandering the streets, Arian was passing by the inn, The Bannered Mare, when he noticed three well-armed men standing outside. Their arms were crossed and they glared at Arian, making Arian wonder what their beef was. If it was something to do with that Saadia and the Redguards mess, he'd deserve every bit of malice they wanted to dish out.
However they made no move to stop him, so with a shrug of his shoulders Arian turned to the front gates of Whiterun to keep moving. But in front of him was a dark elf with a Mohawk hair cut, staring Arian down intently with blood red eyes. He was wearing leather armor, and had a bow strapped across his back. For a man trying to look fearsome, Arian compared him to just any other bully.
"I heard you're the one who took the bounty posted in the inn," the dark elf growled.
"Yeah that would be me," Arian responded, returning the stare.
"I don't think you quite understand the folly of your actions traveller," the dark elf continued. "You see, me and my comrades over there are Whiterun's unofficial bounty hunters. Anything that comes through this city we take and collect the bounty together. It's how we make a living."
"Well I'm sure you boys can sit one of these out," Arian responded, smiling smarmily. "There's got to be plenty of low lives to go around." The dark elf stared at Arian intently, judging every inch of him.
"You walk out that door, we'll make you pay," the dark elf threatened. "Either you, or that bitch you shared the bed with last night."
Finally the dark elf had Arian's full attention. The dark elf's expression warmed upon seeing the grimace he had just inflicted on Arian.
"We'll make that whore pay like you never-" the dark elf's words were cut off as Arian punched him in the face in fury. He fell backwards, and Arian stood angrily over top of him, wanting to unleash a beating unlike any other. Behind Arian he could hear weapons being drawn, and it was a fair assumption the other men were moving to attack him.
"Hey, what's all this now?" called a Whiterun guard as he walked over. The men stopped their movements and Arian looked to the guard. On the ground the dark elf was wiping blood away from underneath his nose, and Arian shot him a menacing look before taking his leave.
Passing by the guard, Arian mentioned, "These men were threatening Ysolda and I may have lost my temper. You might want to keep an eye on her."
The guard nodded, and Arian kept moving. He didn't have time to waste on that trash.
Thinking back on those events, Arian seemed to have it right. Sitting down stranded on the island, Arian really did have bigger issues to deal with. He scratched the back of his head and looked around, trying to consider his options. With a glance down at his leg, Arian realized that the arrow was probably the first thing he'd have to deal with. It had since snapped on both sides, and it was now just a segment of the shaft firmly rooted in his leg.
He was no medical expert, but Arian assumed the arrow hadn't a punctured in major arteries, so if he pulled it out he shouldn't puncture it. If it had gone through muscle or bone though, he could be in serious trouble. Luckily Arian remembered he had been smart enough to buy one of those pink healing potions. He wasn't too sure how they worked, but Arian figured maybe it could speed up the healing process.
Reaching into his pack, Arian found the small glass vial containing the potion and counted himself extremely lucky that it hadn't been punctured or broken in the fall. Holding the bottle in one hand, and grabbing a piece of the shaft in the other, Arian got himself ready for the unpleasant the experience was about to be. Not hesitating anymore, Arian drank the bottle while pulling out the shaft, blood spurting out after it.
Arian nearly gagged on the potion from wanting to scream in pain as the shaft left his leg. But Arian was too stubborn and he forced the healing formula down his throat, and the moment the bottle was emptied and the shaft out of his leg he threw both to the side and fell onto his back. For a minute Arian blacked out from the pain, and then he felt sweat beat down his brow in a rapid fury. His body seemed to be at war with itself, the healing potion combating infection and trying to heal his leg simultaneously.
Upon coming to Arian sat back up, still in tremendous pain, but with a calmer head than before. He would be stuck there for a little while he figured, and he checked his bag to see if any of his food had survived the water adventure. Sadly not, so Arian sighed and leaned forward on his knees.
After many minutes of silent contemplation, only the sound of rushing water accompanying him, Arian heard a strange noise coming from behind him. Careening his head to look over his shoulder, Arian took a better look at the island behind him and saw it was a covered in trees. It was a like a little forest was on this small island, and Arian reasoned it was fair to think wildlife could easily live in it.
Again he heard the noise, and recognized as more of a growl. It was a noise Arian was growing to steadily hate after everything he had been through. Arian reached for his sword, but he could barely lift it. His strength hadn't returned yet, meaning he was pretty much to dinner to any wild animal that wanted it.
"If you're a sabre cat, I kindly ask you to leave me alone," Arian shouted into the forest behind him. Naturally there was no response and Arian waited to see what was coming towards him. He could hear the sound of crumpling leaves as something walked towards Arian.
Then a form came into view, obscured by the trees but visible enough for Arian to see it wasn't on four legs. Walking like a person but hunched over considerably, it lumbered through the trees towards Arian. It was heavy but not fat, ripped and muscular. Arian considered it might have been a person for a moment, but then saw it was covered in white fur. Growling as it walked, it neared Arian and he got a better view. He didn't feel any better than if it had been a sabre cat.
It was a frost troll, its protruding fangs sticking from its mouth and beady black eyes staring at Arian. Arian mustered all the strength he could to pick up his sword, for what little good it would do him. He had read that their weakness was fire, but Arian had no means of making it nor was he was mage. If that frost troll was going to kill him, there would be little Arian could do.
However it just stared at Arian for a few moments. It seemed to be surveying Arian, analyzing him. Then it turned and walked back the way it came, leaving Arian dumbfounded. For a few seconds, the frost troll actually seemed to possess intelligence in the way it looked at Arian. Arian dismissed that idea quickly, as it was far more likely that it simply wasn't hungry. After all, it had left behind the bandit chief's body as well.
Frost trolls were known to be very dumb animals, not possessing much in terms of higher brain function beyond what meal to eat next. They also had a regenerative ability, able to heal very quickly unless having been recently burned by fire.
Arian shrugged his shoulders and counted himself lucky. He could only hope his leg would heal fast enough that he'd be able to swim across the river. There was a good chance Arian would have to leave behind the bandit chief's body to get away safely. It would mean forfeiting the bounty, but Arian chose that over forfeiting his life. A couple of minutes passed as Arian thought about Ysolda and some other possible job opportunities he could pursue, when he heard a roar from inside the forest.
It must have been the frost troll, Arian realized, and hesitantly he turned to look. The noise came from deeper in the forest and Arian heard it again accompanied by the squeal of what sounded like an elk. Arian eyes were fixated on the forest for several minutes, nervous as to what the frost troll was doing. Then it wandered back into view, carrying behind it a large elk carcass. The gruesome smell of blood coated the air and stung Arian's nostrils, and the frost troll dragged the limp elk's body across the ground. It was still bleeding from the neck where the frost troll must have clawed at it, and then the frost troll dropped the body very close to Arian.
Arian was uncomfortably close to the frost troll now, and its odour was overwhelmingly bad. Mixed that with the smell of the dead elk and Arian almost vomited. The frost troll stared at Arian for several seconds, and then it turned its head to look at elk. Then it looked back to Arian, and then to the elk again, almost as if it was motioning for Arian to acknowledge the elk. The whole thing felt surreal, but Arian decided to play along and he looked from the troll to the elk.
The frost troll let out a little grunt and started to hop up and down. Completely confused, Arian looked back and forth between the frost troll and the elk, not sure what to do. Then unexpectedly, the frost troll dug it's claw into the elf's torso, causing blood to spew out. It dug its other claw into the elk torso and then with little breaths of air the frost troll tore the elk in two. If the smell was bad before it was even worse then, and Arian gagged uncontrollably.
With a couple more rapid breaths of air, almost like it was giggling to itself, the frost troll dragged the half with the deer's head off to the side. It sat down awkwardly and began gorging itself on the corpse, leaving Arian to stare at it in sheer wonderment.
"This is so far the weirdest thing yet," Arian commented to himself. Had this frost troll killed an elk to share with Arian for food? It was sure what it looked like, but there was also a good chance it had just split the elk in half to store food for later. Then the frost troll looked up from the piece of elk it was eating and glared at Arian. The two shared an expression of confusion, and then the troll let out a low short roar. It motioned its head from the elk carcass beside Arian to Arian again, leaving Arian at his first conclusion. This frost troll had killed the elf for Arian to eat.
With a resigned sigh, Arian reached into his pack and grabbed some of the cooking supplies he had bought the day before. There was no desire to eat it raw, so as long as Arian was stuck there with a surprisingly intelligent troll, Arian was going to have a decent meal.
He was surprised to find out he was a shockingly good cooker with the limited supplies he had. Assembling a couple of nearby rocks Arian made a make-shift fire pit and cooked a chunk of elk-meat over top of it. While the fire was going the frost troll seemed to grow more and more agitated, so as soon as he didn't need it anymore Arian put out the fire and the frost troll went back to being docile. Then once he had finished eating, the frost troll wandered back over and grabbed the elk carcass. It had already stripped its half dry, and then proceeded to eat the remainder of Arian's half as well.
The weird thing Arian noticed about the troll beside its intelligence, was that it seemed content. Arian could swear its lips were curling upwards in silent joy as it sat near Arian. It was like it just happy to have someone else around, and Arian was completely bewildered to discover this animal that most would consider feral seemed to have a measure of human emotion.
The sun was starting to set, and the healing potion had done its job well enough that Arian was able to stand at long last. He wanted to try and return to Whiterun that night, with the bandit chief's body if he was able to, but he still wasn't sure if he could make the trip. The frost troll finished eating the other half of the elk and tossed it aside as Arian stood there weighing his options. For the first time noticed Arian noticed the frost troll had a distinguishing brown patch of fur on its chest in the shape of a triangle, large enough that Arian would be able to recognize this frost troll easily. It wandered over to him, but Arian grabbed the hilt of his sword and it immediately backed off.
Arian eyed the troll curiously for a moment, as an insane idea popped in his head. If this frost troll was docile and wanted companionship, maybe he could use it. He needed to be sure though. Hesitantly, Arian let go of the hilt. The frost troll stared at Arian blankly for a few moments like it was processing the situation as well. Then it slowly continued to meander over to Arian. Arian's muscles tensed as he prepared to defend himself if necessary.
When it was only a foot away from Arian the troll stopped and waited, breathing heavy raspy breaths. It stood a half a foot shorter than Arian, but he knew the frost troll could tear him in half just as easily as it did that elk. Taking a leap of faith, Arian extended a hand forward. The frost troll let Arian rest his hand on its forehead, and it a rumble emerged from its gut. It wasn't a growl like the ones Arian had come to dread, but rather it was more like a purr.
Arian then ever so carefully rubbed the troll's forehead, petting the strange creature. It responded warmly with more purrs, making Arian smile and chuckle. He had to be sure he could trust the frost troll to listen to him, so removing his hand Arian backed up and pointed at the frost troll.
"Stay," Arian commanded, his voice stern. The frost troll stood still and watched Arian as he continued walking backwards. Arian then ran into the forest out of sight of the troll and waited there for several minutes. Once he had given it what he thought was enough time, Arian walked back to where he had left the frost troll and saw it was still there waiting for him.
"This is freaking awesome," Arian said excitedly. "Follow." Arian then walked into the forest, and much to his joy the troll walked behind him, following him every step of the way. Eventually leading the troll back to the bandit chief's body, Arian turned and pet its head, rewarding it for its obedience. Despite everything he had read about trolls and his better instincts, Arian decided this frost troll was going to be his new pet.
There was the greater mystery of why this troll was so intelligent and so friendly, but Arian was so ecstatic at the idea of a frost troll as a pet he barely paid it any mind. He would have to figure out what to do when he went to cities, but Arian knew he would figure out a pretty good system for it.
"Your new name is going to be…Frosty," Arian proclaimed, lack of originality not bothering him. "From now on, you will answer to Frosty. Understand?"
The frost troll seemed to hop happily in response, making Arian laugh. That was probably as good an answer as he was going to get. Arian then looked to the bandit chief, and he realized he now had an easy way to transport the bounty back to Whiterun.
Arian stripped the bandit chief of some of her armor to make her lighter, and packed some away that he thought he might be able to sell. Then he pulled out rope he had purchased the day before and heaving the bandit chief up he strapped her to Frosty's back. Arian then nuzzled Frosty to reward him, to which it grunted uncomfortably. Frosty clearly didn't appreciate the added weight, but it made no other movement to complain.
The sun was almost set at that point and the two new best friends traveled across the river and then set about returning to Whiterun. Things were difficult when they reached the large hill they needed to climb to return the distance Arian fallen down the waterfall, with Arian needing to take several breaks. His ankle wasn't completely healed yet, and it was aching to walk on.
Frosty was patient however and waited for Arian every time. Arian wasn't sure he'd ever get used to the idea of traveling with a troll, but at least the bandits wouldn't dare mess with him anymore. Not with a frost troll at his side.
It took the two several hours to journey to Whiterun, and Arian took the two mainly off trail to get there. His main concern was getting back to see Ysolda, and he didn't really want to have to deal with any guards on the trail asking questions about his new friend. As they grew closer and closer to the city, Whiterun's high walls easily visible, Arian heard a commotion that concerned him.
People nearby were shouting, and he could hear the sounds of a panicked woman. Arian ordered Frosty to wait and went to check out the situation, but quickly removed the bandit chief from its back in case he needed Frosty to be mobile later. Frosty remained where it was, but it let out a little moan in protest as Arian ran as fast he could. His ankle was still sore but the woman had sounded familiar and alarmed Arian, so he pushed through the pain.
In the dark of night Arian was barely able to make out what he was seeing, but as he reached a hill Arian was able to tell the commotion was coming from the other side of it. He fell to his stomach and started to crawl closer and closer to the scene to find out what was happening, and as he reached the top of the hill he looked down to see a group of men. They were in a natural bowl of sorts, hills surrounding them and making it so guards couldn't easily see them unless they were doing what Arian had done.
Two men were standing around and watching, while another two were holding a woman between them as she struggled to break free. It was Ysolda, Arian instantly recognized from her voice, and the voice of a dark elf standing there set fury into Arian's eyes. He had thought they were shouting empty threats at him, Arian had no idea they actually planned on following through.
"You got no one to blame for this but yourself," the dark elf said. "If you hadn't involved yourself with that troublemaker we wouldn't have to do this to teach him a lesson."
"Go to hell!" Ysolda shouted as she tried to break free. The dark elf laughed and drew a knife as he walked over to her. The other men chuckled as he neared, and Ysolda went silent and watched in terror.
"You dropped your linens quickly enough for a stranger. Let's see how fast I can make them drop," the dark elf stated.
Ysolda screamed in response, and Arian could watch no more. Standing up and ignoring the pain in his foot, Arian roared in anger and ran down the hill. The men turned to see Arian, and the dark elf backed up in shock.
"Kill 'em!" the dark elf shouted, and the two men let go of Ysolda, and the three lackeys charged Arian. Arian unsheathed his sword, and as he ran down the hill he had the higher ground on the three charging. They ran at him in a horizontal line, hoping to surround Arian.
So in response Arian jumped up into the air, gaining surprising height and the three men stopped and tried to prepare their weapons accordingly. Arian was high enough that when he kicked out he hit the man in the middle in the chin. The man fell backwards as momentum carried Arian past him, and he landed with a pivot. Bringing his sword up Arian impaled down quickly, ending the life of the first man.
The other two charged in and one slashed at Arian with a short sword. Arian easily parried the blow, making that warrior stumble backwards. Arian then ducked low, dodging an axe that the other man swung in with. Letting go of his sword with one hand Arian stepped forward and punched that man across the face with such force he went spinning away.
Grabbing his sword firmly with both hands again, Arian spun and slashed out as the man with the short sword as he attempted to attack with a vertical swing. Arian's attack easily knocked the man's away, and then Arian rushed in and kneed the man in the groin. He keeled over in shock, and Arian heard the warrior with the axe charge in again.
Arian stepped around behind the short sword warrior as the man with the axe swung in. Grabbing the keeling over man, Arian grabbed him by his back collar and lifted his upper body, using him like a human shield. The warrior with the axe had no time to stop his swing, and his axe entered his friend's brain. He was so shocked at what he had just done, the man with the axe was unprepared as Arian kicked the now brain dead warrior at him.
Instinctively he caught his friend, and then received Arian's sword through his chest. Arian stabbed through the two warriors, using all the strength he could muster. Arian withdrew the blade and let the two men fall to the ground. Arian took a brief moment to catch his breath, in his rage he had exerted more energy than he to give. Then checking around, Arian looked for the dark elf and Ysolda.
"Stay back!" the dark elf shouted from behind Arian. Arian spun around to see the dark elf holding Ysolda with a dagger to her throat on top of the hill Arian had come from. The dark elf must have navigated around him while he busy taking out the muscle of the operations. This dark elf was clearly just a coward.
"One step closer, and I'll end her life!" the dark elf shouted. Ysolda had tears streaming from her eyes, and Arian tried to think of a way to save her that didn't let this piece of garbage get away. Unlike with Reundelf, he didn't have a dagger handy to throw in this guy's head.
"Frosty, come!" Arian shouted, drawing an incredulous look from the dark elf.
Knowing he had to distract from what he just did, Arian asked, "So what, you think you're going to just walk away from this? Assaulting a helpless woman and attempted murder? What will the guard have to think of that?" Arian hoped if his first plan didn't work, then maybe there was a chance a nearby guard could hear the shout match and investigate.
"The only criminal I see here is you, traveller!" the dark elf retorted. "Me and my men were stopping this thief from running away with our gold, while you ran in and killed three innocent people!"
"So that's how you're going to play it? Your word against ours?" Arian questioned, kind of in disbelief.
"Our word is better any day than the word of some stranger and his whore!" the dark elf insulted. Before Arian had to stall anymore, the dark elf gurgled out blood. Ysolda cautiously looked over her shoulder as the dark elf dropped the knife.
The dark elf was slowly going limp as standing behind him with its teeth firmly planted in its neck, was Frosty. Ysolda screamed and moved away as Frosty jerked its head backwards, taking the dark elf off his feet. He still had enough function to scream as Frosty let go of the dark elf and tossed him, making him crash into a roll. Before he could move, Frosty was there standing over top of him.
Arian ran over to Ysolda and caught her as she began to stumble. The two could hear the dark elf screaming as the frost troll mauled him, until only helpless gurgles remained. Ysolda was still panicking and tried to move, but Arian held her in place.
"Its okay, the big guy's with me," Arian explained. Ysolda looked at him in complete and utter confusion, and Arian conceded, "I'll have to explain that one later."
"Hey, what's going on over there?" a guard shouted from just over one of the hills. Arian could see the growing light of a torch nearing, and telling Ysolda to wait for a moment he ran over to Frosty.
"Frosty, go hide! I'll come find you in the morning, I promise!" Arian whispered. Frosty looked up from his mangled play thing, and then nodded and walked away.
Walking back over to the Ysolda, the guard was already there. She explained the group abducted her with ill-intent, and that Arian had saved her. When examining the bodies, the guard questioned what had happened to the dark elf to mangle him so.
"Some…heroic troll came out of nowhere and saved us. I'd give him the key to the city if I were you," Arian chipped in. Behind the mask Arian had no idea what the guard's expression was, but Arian really hoped the guard bought the story.
Sighing, the guard asked, "Alright, is there anything else I should know?" Arian thought about it for a few moments and then remembered one crucial detail.
"I don't suppose you could help me carry a bounty back into the city?"
Well after midnight, Arian and Ysolda were back in her house in Whiterun. Arian had woken up a grumpy steward, and gotten his reward, and was now content to be with Ysolda. She was tending to Arian's ankle injury, while he explained everything that had happened that day.
"Is it the best idea to have a frost troll as a pet?" she asked in all seriousness.
"Well, it's worked out so far," Arian responded with a laugh. Ysolda took no comfort in that, and as she finished bandaging Arian's ankle she pushed it off her leg. Arian was taken aback at the action, and then moved in closer to her.
"What's wrong?" Arian asked.
"I was almost raped tonight Arian," Ysolda answered, looking at the floor. "What those men would have done to me…"
"Hey, hey it's okay. They didn't, I stopped them," Arian said with a calming voice.
Ysolda started to cry as she said, "And it's because the first time in my life I have a one-night stand."
Arian put an arm around her, and pulled her in for a hug, trying to ease her pain.
"I don't think it was a one-night stand Ysolda," Arian retorted. "I do actually care about you quite a bit."
Ysolda looked up to Arian, her face scorn red from the tears.
"Yeah, I know we just met, but I feel like there can be something special here," Arian replied. She stared at him for many seconds, looking like a lost little girl. But then she kissed him hungrily. Arian wasn't prepared, but then she stuck her tongue in his mouth and he didn't have much of a choice.
She started to fumble with his clothes, taking them off, and Arian took a minute to ask, "Wait, are you sure about this? Like all things considered…"
"Please. I need this," Ysolda said. And then she started slipping off her dress.
The moment he could see her breasts, Arian shrugged his shoulders and remarked, "Well, I won't argue with that."
Arian woke up before dawn the next morning, his sleep troubled. Lying next him again was a naked Ysolda, and she was still as beautiful as the morning before. But Arian couldn't think straight at the moment. Everyone had warned him that getting close to people could be cause for concerns in his line of work.
If Arian kept hunting wanted men and women and getting into battles, then he was constantly painting Ysolda a target. As much as he did care for her and wanted to be there with her, Arian couldn't stand the thought of more nights like that one where she would be in danger because of him.
Getting up silently, even quieter than the night before, Arian got dressed. Finding some parchment and ink, Arian left a note explaining why he had to leave, and why he wouldn't be returning to Whiterun for a long time. He added at the end that maybe one day he'd come back and they could see each other again, but the two of them could never truly be together.
Arian left the city as the sun rose. He wasn't sure where he'd go next, or what he'd do. Whiterun was a beautiful city, but Arian knew as much as he wanted it to be it couldn't be home for him. He gave it one last look before he walked away.
"Frosty! Come!" Arian shouted once he was near where the fighting happened the night before.
Frosty did not arrive for several minutes, and Arian was worried he had lost another great part of his life too quickly. Sighing and adjusting his sword on his back, Arian prepared himself to journey to the east. But then Arian heard a roar coming from behind him, and turning around he saw Frosty in the distance running towards him.
Arian walked to his pet frost troll and met him the middle. Frosty was bouncing up and down like it did when it was happy, and chuckling Arian pet his friend on the forehead. At least with his new best friend at his side, Arian would never have to be alone again.